Kia is evolving, both in terms of design and nomenclature. As far as design goes, we can suss out with reasonable accuracy how future vehicles will look based on spy photos of prototypes. Names, however, present a larger mystery and this edgy sedan still has plenty to hide. For now, here is everything we know about the next-generation Kia Forte.
What Will It Be Called?
Stick with us on this, because it's a touch complicated. Kia may ditch the Forte name in favor of K4. That's not a huge deal, as it would match up with the Korean brand's current trend of switching to alphanumerics for its model designations. However, depending on where you live in the world, the current Forte is already known as K3. One might assume K3 would make more sense for this car, but Kia just debuted a new K3 sedan that's smaller, serving as a Rio successor, not Forte. And lest we forget, Kia sold a K4 sedan in China for several years that's also a completely different vehicle.
The new Kia K3.
Kia K4 for China.
So yeah, there's quite a bit of speculation regarding the name. But, we've heard scattered rumors about K4 being used, slotting neatly between K3 and K5. It's the front-runner in the name game for now, but the takeaway is still the same. It should be the new version of the Forte as we know it in North America.
What Will It Look Like?
Kia announced its Opposites United design language back in 2021, the crux of which involves contrasting, edgy shapes. Starting from spy photos obtained exclusively by Motor1 showing a camouflaged prototype up close, we extrapolated this philosophy while borrowing cues from recent Kia debuts including the aforementioned K3, Sportage, and EV9.
Larger than the current Forte, the new sedan will have sharp vertical and horizontal features for the headlights and grille. We've seen sharp body lines through the camouflage on prototypes, depicted in our render on the front and rear fenders. At the back, we expect a sloping roof and C-pillar treatment similar to the K5 sedan, with more vertical/horizontal "opposites united" design features at the rear.
What's Under The Hood?
Kia is charging (pun intended) full speed ahead into the electric realm, but our prototype sightings have confirmed internal combustion power in this new sedan. That certainly doesn't rule out hybrid powertrains, but whatever combo comes to fruition, it's likely to involve either the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter or turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines used in a wide range of Kia models, including the current-generation Forte. We expect it to remain solely a front-wheel-drive sedan.
When Does It Arrive?
The current-generation Kia Forte has already been announced for 2024, soldiering on with a bit more standard equipment and a modest price increase. That means the next-generation model, be it Forte or K4, will at the very least be a 2025 model year vehicle. If the automaker follows the same formula used for previous debuts, we will likely see it unveiled first for South Korea (where it's called the Cerato ... because we don't already have enough names to deal with). That could happen by the middle of next year, leaving room for a North American debut in late 2024 or early 2025.
Gallery: Kia Forte / K4 New Spy Photos
How Much Will It Cost?
Kia has done a fantastic job keeping prototypes and information under wraps, so we have no information regarding price at this time. We can tell you the 2024 Kia Forte starts at $ 20,915 and tops out at $25,615 in GT trim with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.